SLAYER guitarist Kerry King recently spoke to Las Vegas Weekly about the band's decision to carry on following the tragic passing of the group's original axeman Jeff Hanneman.
"Well, there's still stuff we gotta work out about that, because moving forward, there's gonna be records, there's gonna be merch, there's gonna be live shows and we gotta figure out essentially what everybody thinks is fair moving forward," he said.
"Jeff was in bad shape for a long time. Did anybody think he was going to die? Absolutely not. Even with the worst prognosis, you didn't think it was going to be that quick, and it just kind of was. I was definitely in shock. We knew at some point that gap was going to have to be filled, so to speak, but nobody expected it to be when it was. That was quick.
"I just plan on writing songs as I always have. I'm sitting on 13, 14 [new songs] right now. We're ready to go. We just gotta quit touring so we could go in and get a record done. Me and Jeff were the main songwriters, and I'm just moving on and doing it all by myself."
Regarding the direction of the new SLAYER material, Kerry said: "The friends I've played [the new songs] for are pretty stoked about them. It's just an extension of what people love about SLAYER. I'm not trying to fool anybody and say, 'This is what I was really trying to do all these years.' No, it's gonna be the same stuff."
Kerry also spoke about the possibility of the next SLAYER album containing previously unused material that was originally written by Hanneman.
"Most of the stuff we already picked through in the '80s," he said. "We did have a song left over from the last record that needs some reworking, but it wasn't a complete song. It wasn't on the record for a reason. It wasn't the quality of the rest of 'World Painted Blood'. It's good stuff; it just wasn't finished. So I'm gonna work on that when time permits. Other than that, everything that was given to us, we pretty much cherry-picked. We go back there and pick through again, I'm not sure that does anybody any good other than the fact that yeah, we used Jeff Hanneman's stuff. I don't want people to hear something and say, 'Maybe they shouldn't have put that out.' If anybody is gonna say anything about what we put out I want them to say, 'Wow. That's Jeff's last song. That's awesome.'"
He added: "I've got plenty [of material written for the next record], whether we get to [use any of] Jeff's [stuff] or not."
According to Kerry, "There's only one high point to Jeff not being with us for three years: Gary [Holt, current SLAYER touring guitarist, also of EXODUS] got to be. And when the time came, it wasn't complete culture shock with some new guy trying to take over for someone who just passed away. I mean, I would hate to be in that position, but luckily, Gary's been with us since 2011, so the fans were used to him. I think it was easier. And there are pictures at Jeff's memorial that showed Gary holding Jeff from when we first met, like, 25 years ago and there's some after Gary was playing in SLAYER for Jeff of them two together. It's kind of cool. I mean, if you can find any kind of silver lining it's cool that Jeff was on board with Gary taking his spot, and moving forward, it makes things easier, I guess."
He continued: "Gary's not writing anything on this [next SLAYER] record. I don't think fans would be ready for that. What I'd like him to do is play some leads to just take some of the heat off of me. And then three years down the line, we do another record, [and] if Gary's with us, I would be more than happy for Gary to write some tunes."